One Hit Wonder

Samuel Palmer, “Early Morning” (1825)

A Tree-Hugger Ahead of His Time

Palmer’s sepias take us deep into the mysterious harmony of the natural world. Animals and humans are often present — note the hyperalert rabbit and half-hidden villagers in the resplendent “Early Morning” — and houses and barns crop up in the distance. But the main character is nature, in its wholeness and divineness, measured out in slightly stiff renderings of effulgently leafy bushes, glimmering birches, massive oaks and gnarly rocks, and in occasional moments of breathtaking ambiguity.